Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Paris, France | C.1882

Photo Credit: Christian Dumitru

Taking residence in the north wing of the Louvre Museum, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs (MAD) has been a mainstay of Paris since 1882. For visitors with a vested interest in decorative arts, MAD aims to promote arts that seek to make useful things beautiful, many of the exhibits feature objects touting both form and function.

MAD derives from an organization first formed by art collectors interested in applied arts. Initially known as the Union centrale des Arts decoratifs (UCAD), the museum was renamed Les Arts Decoratifs in 2018 and is made up of three museum sites: MAD in the Louvre, Musee Nissim de Camondo in the Hotel Camondo, and the Acole Camondo, a school of design and interior architecture.

Along with its collection of furniture, MAD is also known for its period rooms. Its main collection is arranged chronologically starting with the Middle Ages & Renaissance through to the Nineteenth Century, then Art Deco, and lastly Contemporary design.

In French, the acronym MAD stands for Mode, Arts, Design – and is actually pronounced like the 60s fashion trend “mod”. A fitting pronunciation given the international renown for its fashion exhibits. In 2018, MAD exhibited “Christian Dior: Couturier du Reve”, a retrospective of the house of Dior featuring more than 300 haute couture gowns. It was the museum’s largest fashion exhibit to date.

The second oldest museum in Paris after the Louvre, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs invites guests on an eclectic exploration of art and design throughout the centuries. In 2017, it reported a record 920,000 visitors.

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